After years of battling depression as well as drug and alcohol addiction, Steve Buckles, 58, of Waterloo, Iowa, had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. "Knowing to expect the depression meant I was able to deal with it as a temporary setback," says Buckles.
Jim McBride, of Dover, Del., started feeling anxious and depressed about a month after his heart attack in 2006. "It came out of nowhere. I had never had it in the previous 61 years of my life. It really affected my outlook and ability to concentrate on my recovery from the heart attack," says McBride, now 63.
Cassak wasn't prepared for the depression that hit her as she was recovering from heart surgery. She eventually sought counseling, and her therapist assured her that her feelings were normal. She also encouraged Cassak to try to go back to work, because she was feeling isolated, and to resume physical activity. Three months later Cassak was running again and feeling back to normal.
"I am a believer that depression is like a broken toe," Cassak says. "You may not be able to do something yourself, but if you go find out what you can do you’ll get past it much faster." She says she doesn't anticipate a relapse, but if it happens, she won't hesitate to seek outside assistance, a theme shared by others who have experienced cardiac depression.